A commentary on education … or lack thereof: It’s surprising how much you learn after you thought you knew it all.

You reap what you sow is an admonition most of us have heard all of our lives. Yet, the significance has fallen on too many unwilling ears in just about every segment of society. It’s advice to live by, but it’s clear we have ignored the warning, with no better example than in the political world. However, it’s also an indictment of the burdens we have put on ourselves, especially since the 1960s.

It is obvious in so many ways it’s hard to miss. Doubters will disagree, but they live in a fool’s world. Throughout the history of this nation we have been the beneficiaries of the wisdom of the ages. All the while, however, that kind of wisdom has been buried in history and that is one of the problems. Teaching and learning how this nation earned and kept its freedom don’t seem to be priorities in our materialistic and digitalized lives. Lack of knowledge of the Constitution and its signers is inexcusable.

History teaches about humanity, its failures, and what caused them, thus showing us what to do to avoid failing again. Education in general and history in particular should be unceasing pursuits of every generation. Learn from the past and today for tomorrow.

Someone said if we don’t know where we‘ve been we cannot know where we’re going … or should be going. Our world today is a mess and worries many Americans. History makes it clear how it got that way.

For one thing, there is an appalling lack of understanding of what civil rights are and how they apply to all of society. Civil rights don’t give anyone the right to break other laws or the right to do whatever one wishes. That contributes to the mess we’re in. John Adams made the point, “Laws for the liberal education of the youth, especially of the lower class of the people, are so extremely wise and useful …” no matter the cost. Does anyone care?

There’s the breakdown of the family that undermines the values of discipline. Manners have all but faded away. What’s wrong with a man tipping his hat or opening a door for a lady? Politically correct foolishness?

Dependency on government? Too many want free stuff. That’s bleeding taxpayers, not government. You bet it’s one more reason we threw ourselves into the briar patch. Mitt Romney said it as well as anyone. “Dependency is death to initiative, to risk-taking and opportunity,” the very things that give us a boot strap to pull ourselves out of the quagmire.

Some nowadays denigrate patriotism. That’s pitiful. Andrew Jackson gave us a foundation. “Every good citizen makes his country’s honor his own,” he said, “and cherishes it not only as precious but as sacred. He is willing to risk his life in defense and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it.”

These are only a few cracks in our national armor. You’ll find others. The most worrisome is faith. Some say church membership is declining. That didn’t escape Billy Graham’s attention. He said, “To a large extent the American church has become merged with the world. It has adopted so many of the world’s ideals and standards that it has lost its ability to stem the tide of crime, deception and immorality that is sweeping the nation. For millions of church members there is no deep commitment to the cause of Christ, no regularity of attendance of public worship, no sacrificial giving, no personal religious discipline.”


Collins lives in Greenwood and is retired from the Index-Journal where he served in several capacities, to include as the paper’s executive editorial editor.